The Soviet Skoryi Class Destroyer

The „Smelyi” type destroyer, Project 30 bis (Skoryi class, according to NATO classification), was the first destroyer designed and built after World War Two with new shipbuilding technologies available in the USSR.

World War Two demonstrated that all early-built Soviet destroyers had serious flaws. Poor seaworthiness, hull fragility, lack of displacement reserves for modernization. The technical design and working drawings of the new EM were developed under the leadership of the main designer A.L. Fisher. On 28 January 1947, by order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N3 149-75 „On the construction of destroyers of the 30K and 30 bis Projects”, the technical design developed in TsKB-53 was approved.
The construction of ships of this series was to take place at four shipyards: No. 190 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), No. 200 in Mikolayov, No. 199 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and No. 402 in Molotov (now the town of Severodvinsk).


In addition, it was agreed that each of the four shipyards will provide vessels to „its” own fleet, i.e
Plant No. 402 was to build destroyers for the Northern Fleet, the Leningrad No. 190 plant for the Baltic Fleet. The ships from Mikoyov’s plant were assigned to the Black Sea Fleet. And plant No. 199 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur provided vessels to the Pacific Fleet.
In total, seventy ships were built in 1949–1953. It was the largest series of Soviet vessels ever built and in such a short time. The whole series was completed in less than five years..

The Poject 30bis destroyers were a direct development of the Project 30 and 30 K project. But the 30bis, compared to them, had larger dimensions, which improved the ship’s stability and managed to get more space for radio-electronics and other equipment.
When commencing creation of the main design of the 30 bis, at that time, the Soviet navy specialists had experience in construction and combat use of the 7, 7U, 30 and 30K destroyers.
In the hull part of the project, the designers of TsKB-53 bureau took into account the experience of the German shipbuilding industry, with which they got acquainted by both captured technical documentation and research of German destroyers inherited from the USSR for repairs.


The shape of the stern, also borrowed from the German destroyers of the 1936-A project, while maintaining a spacious stern, enabled contouring in the area of ​​the constructive line above and below the waterline and underwater to get speed improvement and ease of reverse control.
The design of the fore part changed and got a first-level platform for an additional 37 mm cannon, and the closed navigation bridge, which was considered during the war to be very uncomfortable in controlling the ship in repelling enemy aircraft attacks, gave way to an open one. Protection against wind was to be carried out in a way noticed on German ships - with a special windscreen that directed the air flow upwards, shielding those on the bridge from the oncoming air stream.
For the first time in the USSR, the ship’s hull was completely welded.
The process of creating welding technology for the shipbuilding industry had used experience of automated welding in the production of tanks.
So, when developing technology maps for welding hull sections of the ship, the relevant Uralmashzavod documentation served as the pattern.
The total length of welding lines on each ship was about 16 km, and energy consumption was over 150 kWh.
But the achievements did not come immediately. The lack of development of new steel welding technology was one of the reasons for the appearance of cracks in the tensioned structures of ships’ hulls. After the first months of operations of the destroyers delivered to the fleet, cracks were found in the aft area. The second reason for their appearance was the lack of rigidity of the frame structures, which had to be strengthened. The correction of this structural defect cost 700,000 roubles per ship. The cost of building a series production ship at that time was about 100 million roubles.



The 30 bis returned to the use of propeller shaft fairings, used for the first time in the domestic shipbuilding industry, to achieve the maximum speed of the project leader. According to the plan, the use of this shape of the drive shaft fairing in the Project 30bis was to ensure a favourable influence of the fairings on the stern flow and their stabilizing effect during turning and tilting. This explains the lack of side keels in both projects that appeared on the overloaded ships of the previous constructions.
The 30bis had typical semi-armoured architecture typical for destroyers. The hull had 17 watertight bulkheads.
According to the technical design, the 30 bis destroyers had a standard displacement of 2,351 tons, a normal displacement of 2,726 tons and a full of 3,101 tons; main dimensions (overall/waterline): length 120.5/116 m, beam 12/11 m, average draft 3.86 m (at normal displacement) and 4.25 m the largest. The speed: maximum - 36.6 knots, technical and economic - 15.7 knots, and operational and economic - 19 knots. The cruising range was 1,000, 3,660 and 3,600 nautical miles, respectively.
Studying the 30bis destroyers, you can see many obvious influences of the German shipbuilding industry.



The keel of the 30bis leading ship was laid on the slipway of the Leningrad shipyard named after A.A. Zhdanov on 16 May 1948, and was given the name „Smelyi”.
Launched four and a half months later, she was commissioned after state tests on 21 December 1949. The date coincided with the I.V. Stalin’s birthday. Although the Far Eastern “Vstrechnyi’s” approval certificate was signed for two weeks only, and the Black Sea ‚Vdelitelnyi”, almost two months earlier than the birthday of the party leader, a relatively short construction period was achieved by cross-sectional assembly of the ship’s hull, which was built at the construction site with 101 sections. The sections were pre-welded in the assembly hall in special guides - „beds” - and were transported to the slipway and assembled together, quickly forming the ship’s hull.
Factory sea trials took place in the Gulf of Finland, and for state tests the destroyer under the command of the Captain 3rd rank I.S. Startsev moved to the Baltic Sea Base. On the morning of 3 November, having aboard the National Acceptance Commission chaired by Rear Admiral N.O. Abramov, the “Smelyi” entered the Gulf of Gdańsk. On the first of December, having spent a total of 145 hours in motion, 10 of them carried out at the maximum speed, after covering 5,250 nautical miles and consumed 3,960 tons of fuel, as well as firing tests, the destroyer entered the stage of a complete check of technical condition by the twentieth day of testing.
The next day, the ship was officially commissioned.
In the approval act, the state commission noted that the ship had developed a full speed of 36.6 knots, i.e. one knot more than specified. The speed was achieved thanks to the strength of the main mechanisms with the output of 60,700 HP and 445 revolutions of propeller shafts per minute, the actual displacement in this case corresponded to normal – 2,691 tons. The cruising range (with a full fuel reserve of 744 tons) was: operational - economical at 19 knots – 3,660 miles, at full speed – 1,000 miles, which also exceeded the expectations. During testing at full speed, the destruction of the hearth of the main KV-30 boilers was noticed. Damages were removed on the spot in accordance with the recommendations of the boiler makers the Plant No. 189. The State Commission drew attention to the noise of the TVK-U turbofans and flooding them by waves, which did not allow the development of speed by more than 28 knots.


When the displacement was less than normal, the ship began to roll, and on the passing wave it strongly „cleared” - deviated from the course by 5-8 degrees. The diameter of the steady-state circulation at full speed - more than eight body lengths - exceeded the required handling characteristics. In the final report, the Commission noted the main disadvantage of the main guns – lack of versatility. The „aggravating circumstance” was the lack of the Mina-30bis system, which did not generate data for anti-aircraft fire, even within the existing elevation, i.e. up to 45 degrees.
The Soyuz-30bis 85mm anti-aircraft fire control system was unable to provide data for firing at diving aircraft. All this, according to the commission, determined „the low efficiency of fulfilling air defense tasks “Smelyi” during the fight against the modern air enemy means”.



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